Priceline CEO Brett Keller [Credit: CBS News]

Priceline unveils Trip Builder booking platform

US: Priceline has unveiled its latest “Trip Builder” booking platform and added more than two million listings of alternative accommodations to its site.

The alternative accommodations include apartments and vacation rental homes, as well as more extravagant options such as boats and treehouses. Meanwhile, the Trip Builder platform will let Priceline users bundle the most popular options in one single transaction, which allows them access to privately negotiated rates that would otherwise be unavailable to them.

Priceline says that the two major changes to its platform have been driven by a “fundamental evolution in the way Americans travel”, spurred by the rise of the sharing economy and the prevalence of mobile booking in equal measure.

Travellers can now book more imaginative trips on Priceline than before, with less work and more savings.

A bundled trip on Trip Builder can include trips with a flight and multiple hotels in different cities, road trips with stays in private apartments and hotels and no flight required, and a mix of private homes and hotels, booked for trips to be taken at different times. Priceline says that the collective price of one of these bundled trips can be significantly lower than if it were booked independently.

Priceline CEO Brett Keller said: “We know that bundles deliver real savings – an average of $240 per transaction on Priceline, but we also know the universe of customers who can save is much larger.

“Our analysts found that for every person who booked a bundle on Priceline, nine times as many people booked flights and hotels separately for the same trip, so we created Trip Builder and added alternative accommodations to the flight, hotel and car options.

“Now our customers have the flexibility to book more creative trips in one sitting, even trips at different times, while saving much more money,” he added.

Trip Builder is unique within the worldwide travel marketplace. It is powered by an advanced recommendation engine that uses machine learning to instantly analyse millions of prospective deals and present the best combination of choice and savings for travellers’ consideration.

Travel behaviours have evolved noticeably with the concept of the sharing economy making alternative accommodations an increasingly popular and exciting option for travellers.

Trips are becoming more curated and imaginative to appeal to the tastes and needs of the traveller, meaning they can stay at a mix of hotels and private homes and travel between multiple destinations, all just with their phone at their fingertips. As these options become ever more commonplace, the days of “one round-trip flight and one hotel in one destination” are disappearing.

The fact that travellers are now booking trips closer to their departure date and doing so via mobile devices points towards another emerging trend in the space. Travellers are able to book more spontaneous trips to less mainstream destinations and all of that can be done from a single device.

Trip Builder has facilitated the booking of alternative accommodations alongside flights, hotels and rental cars, so it aims to take the stress out of the booking process from start to finish. Not only is this simpler but it would also be more cost-effective and leaves more money for travellers to book additional trips in the same manner further down the line.

For more information, visit the Priceline website here.

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